Top 5 Reasons to witness ISL Football
Indian Super League the footballing gala of India which started half a decade ago will be entering its sixth season when it starts on 20th of October with first match scheduled between Kerala Blasters and ATK, commonly referred as El Clasico of India. There are many things which make this tournament the best football tournament in South-East Asia. Let’s have a look over 5 things that make this tournament this special:-
Introduced fan culture in non-footballing cities
Prior to 2014, if you would have asked about football in India, everybody would ask you to visit Kolkata, Northeast and Kerala. With introduction of ISL, football opened up to new cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jamshedpur, etc. It’s mesmerizing to see fans chanting and cheering for their local clubs. This particular edition of ISL is introducing Football to 2 new cities. The two new cities are Bhubaneshwar and Hyderabad. Although the clubs from Delhi and Pune are removed from this edition.
First exposure for 2017 U-17 Batch
2017 U-17 World Cup held in India was the first ever real encounter of top level football with Indian fans. Indian fans have a lot of expectation from that U-17 batch. After playing for Indian Arrows project for 2 seasons, most players of that batch are ready to prove their mettle in ISL. The list of players include Dheeraj Singh (ATK), Prabhsukhan Gill (BFC). Boris Singh (ATK), Jitender Singh (Jamshedpur), Anwar Ali (Mumbai City), Ninthoinganba (North East United). Amarjeet Singh Kiyam (Jamshedpur), Komal Thatal (ATK), KP Rahul (Kerala Blasters).
AFC Champions League Spot
AIFF decided to exchange AFC spots between I-league and ISL. So, from this season onwards the winner of ISL are going to qualify for the AFC Champions League, 2021 Play offs and I-league winner will qualify for AFC Cup, 2021 group stage. AFC Champions league is equivalent to UEFA Champions League and AFC Cup is equivalent to UEFA Europa League.
Experienced and Quality Foreign Players
ISL is the prime example of a league where quality foreign players are bought. Indian Players get a chance to learn from their experiences. Many Football legends have played in ISL and popularised Indian Football like John Riise, Florent Malouda, Diego Forlan, Luis Garcia, Alessandro Del Piero, David James, Roberto Carlos, Nicolas Anelka. Clubs in ISL have moved from tradition of signing big names to signing quality young foreign players. This year too, we are going to witness some quality foreigners. We will witness Asamoah Gyan (North East United), Roy Krishna (ATK), David Williams (ATK) to name a few.
Dual Nature of the tournament
Top tier tournaments all over the world are played in Round Robin format while Knock out Tournaments are considered as most thrilling tournaments all over the world. ISL offers features of both these tournaments; Round Robin format to determine most consistent teams and Knock Out format to maintain excitement. ISL is played in two phases, in the first phase clubs play both home and away in Round Robin format. In the Later phase top 4 clubs qualify for play-offs where they compete in knock out format to determine winner of the league. This may give contrasting results too. In the 2017-18 season Bengaluru FC topped the league stage and ultimately lost to Chennaiyin FC in Finals.
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